Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton can't locate end zone against Chicago Bears

By Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 23, 2017 at 12:13 AM
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CHICAGO -- More than an hour passed before Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton finally entered a Soldier Field interview room and faced a bank of cameras Sunday afternoon.

Newton seemed as if he wanted to be anywhere else. His team had lost 17-3 against the Chicago Bears, and he had thrown two interceptions and botched a lateral play in the defeat.

"There's no excuse not to come in and find a way to win this football game," Newton said. "We squandered that opportunity, but I'm not feeling sorry for myself, nor do I expect anyone else to. Life goes on, and we just have to get ready for our next opponent."

This has been a roller-coaster season for Newton, who made headlines for mocking a female reporter earlier this month. Newton again raised eyebrows last week as he skipped his weekly press conference.

Newton's brief remarks Sunday featured no controversy. He stuck to short answers and did not deflect blame for his turnovers or the team's three-point effort, which marked its worst performance since 2011.

The 28-year-old signal-caller completed 21 of 34 passes for 211 yards and two interceptions. He has compiled 1,687 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season for an 80.8 passer rating.

A reporter asked Newton why the Panthers did not attempt more deep throws against the Bears.

"Sorry, I can't answer that question," said Newton, who wore gold-rimmed aviators and a gold hat. "I'm executing the play that is given to me and pretty much trying to check what the defense gives me."

When asked what went wrong on his first interception, Newton avoided specifics.

"The ball just shot up in the air, and it was an interception," he said.

Carolina head coach Ron Rivera said Newton "had his moments" and did not deserve blame for the loss. He said the botched lateral and deflected pass were plays that were out of Newton's hands.

However, Rivera acknowledged that Newton's accuracy was off during several important plays.

"He overthrew Christian (McCaffrey) and he overthrew Kelvin (Benjamin)," Rivera said. "Those are some things you wish you could have back. He knows it, too. I saw his expression right after he missed them both. He knew that if he brings it down to Christian, it's a big catch, and if he brings it down to Kelvin, it's a big catch."

Newton said he and his teammates could not rely on excuses such as an injury-riddled offensive line.

"Injuries aside, we still have to get the job done," Newton said. "And, offensively, we didn't. We didn't get an opportunity to get in the red zone, and that's unacceptable. We have to be better."

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